SEATTLE – Mario Gonzalez Rubio Garcia, aka “Johnny,” 36, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute heroin. Rubio Garcia was indicted along with 25 other defendants as part of “Project Deliverance,” a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration led investigation of a heroin trafficking ring that delivered large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine from Mexican cartels to street level customers in the Tacoma area. Rubio Garcia was also ordered to forfeit over $50,000 in currency and a 2009 GMC Acadia seized at the time of his arrest.
According to records filed in the case, the organization used various drug runners who were working with a ‘dispatcher’ to deliver the drugs to customers from Lewis, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties. The customer would call the dispatcher who would direct him/her to a location within a six square mile area of south Tacoma. At the time of the meet, the drug runner’s car would drive slowly past the customer’s car signaling the customer to follow. The cars would proceed into a residential neighborhood in an attempt to identify surveillance and ultimately make the transaction. Vehicles with hidden compartments were utilized to ship hundreds of thousands of drug proceeds to Mexico. In the course of the thirteen month investigation, authorities seized more than 80 pounds of heroin, $400,000 in cash, four firearms, and more than four pounds of methamphetamine. Rubio Garcia and the other defendants were arrested June 9, 2010.
Rubio Garcia is a Mexican national who likely will be deported following his prison term.
In asking for the lengthy prison term, prosecutors noted that Rubio Garcia trafficked black tar heroin- one of the drugs that has fueled cartel violence. According to the U.S. State Department, there have been 22,700 narcotics related murders in Mexico since 2006, as Mexican cartels battle to decide who will control the supply of drugs, such as black tar heroin, into the United States.
Rubio Garcia also worked with a co-conspirator who operated the store La Case de Sharon. The store operator allowed Rubio Garcia and the runners to store illegal drug proceeds at the store during the day, and also assisted them with wiring illegal drug proceeds to Mexico using false names to conceal the money’s source and purpose.This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Grays Harbor Drug Task Force, Lakewood Police Department and Thurston County Narcotics Task Force. The following agencies provided substantial assistance: Auburn Police Department, Bonney Lake Police Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fife Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Puyallup Police Department, Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Tacoma Police Department, Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Corrections.